Cheick Diallo is a power forward from the University of Kansas. Diallo is 6’9 and has a wingspan of 7’4. For the year, he averaged, 7.5 minutes per game, 3.0 points per game, 2.5 rebounds per game, 0.9 blocks per game, 0.3 steals per game, while shooting 56.9% from the field.
- Size and length
- Athletic freak
- High character player
- Finishes strong around the rim
- Soft hands
- Strong defensive player
- Excellent shot blocking potential
- Stays out of foul trouble
- Extremely raw offensive player
- Poor shot selection
- Minor problems with his shooting mechanics
- Poor decision maker
- Bad passer
- Needs to add more strength to his frame
- All potential
There was a lot of excitement heading into the season surrounding Cheick Diallo. Diallo struggled to see any major minutes at Kansas, so we are left to play around with his limited playing time to guess what it could translate into the next level.
On the offensive end of the court, Diallo needs to be near the rim at all times, as this is the only place he is very effective. He does not have the greatest footwork around the rim, so he is mainly going to be used a cleanup man, or in alley-opp situations. If he wants to be an effective scorer in the paint, Diallo still needs to add some strength to his frame to bang with the big men in the NBA. Diallo does not have a good jumper to rely on either. When he does decide to shoot mid-range, his mechanics are a bit off, and are an easy fix for a shooting coach to fix. If he can develop even a short-range jumper, he could become a decent offensive player. His passing is poor at best. Diallo struggles to see the court, and will force passes. He often holds the ball too long, which leads to turnovers.
On defense, Diallo is full of potential. In the paint, Diallo is a great on-ball defender, who does not get pushed around easily. His length makes getting a shot off nearly impossible when he is right on you. His shot blocking instints are another huge perk for him. Although he did not get much playing time at Kansas, Diallo averaged over 4 blocks per 40 minutes, without even coming close to fouling out. Even if it takes a few years for him to learn how to play offense, he will be an excellent defensive role player. His combination of speed and length should project to be a decent perimeter defender, but with so few minutes, it was rare to see him out there. Rebounding is another big plus for Diallo. He shows a great understanding of the fundamentals of rebounding, and uses his frame and length to secure anything that flies near him.
As an overall, Diallo looks to be a high energy, defensive specialist in the league. Many projected college stars do not handle bench roles very well, but Diallo always came off the bench with high energy, and was always there for his teammates. His offensive game will take a few years to develop, and even a developed game might just be more post moves, as I do not ever see him feeling confident with a jumper. He is already a defensive force when he gets consistent minutes, so whatever team selects him will have an instant improvement for their second unit defense. When it comes to his draft range, Diallo started the year in the 10-20 range, but now he has quite the spectrum. Many scouts are predicting this draft to get weird, so I will say its safe to say Diallo’s range is 9-35. Toronto and Milwaukee could be looking to shore up their defensive frontcourt, and adding some more athleticism to their team as well, especially Milwaukee who has struck gold betting on athleticism with Giannis Antetokounmpo. If the draft does not get weird, I think Diallo has a safe bet of being drafted in the 20-30 range.
Pro Comparison: Bismack Biyombo
This comparison came to me rather easily. Neither player has great height, but possess tremendous length, love to play defense, and have almost no clue how to be an effective offensive player. Biyombo needed quite a few years to find his role in the league, something Diallo will also need, so do not expect much from him early on, similar to what happened with Biyombo.
Offensively, both players are limited to near the baskets, were they serve as cleanup men, and the occansionally alley-oop. Both players will set up from time to time for a jumper, but the form is never there, and the lack of confidence is apparent so it is rare to see them outside the paint. Diallo and Biyombo are also inefficient passers, and it is best to keep their hands off the ball, unless it for them to lay it in, or dunk it. Both player have low usage rates on offense, which could be concerning, but that is when they are the most effective.
On defense, both players are tremendous, and a joy to watch. In the paint, Diallo and Biyombo use their strong bodies to hold down their opponents, and when their opponents tries to take a shot, their length and leaping abilities, almost guarantees an altered shot. When guarding the rim, both players show excellent timing ability, as well as staying out of foul trouble. We all know how successful of a rebounder Biyombo is, and Diallo has the same ability to be a game changer on the boards.
Biyombo is one of the better defensive role players in the league, and although he will never live up to the hype of being a top ten pick, Diallo does not likely face the same pressure. Diallo will need a few years of development to find his niche in the league, which means either limited minutes, or quite a bit of time in the D-League.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17